Isle investors buying Mid Pac fuel chain
The purchase includes 36 of 51 Union 76 gas stations
A group of local investors led by First Hawaiian Bank Chairman Walter Dods Jr. is purchasing Mid Pac Petroleum LLC from a Singaporean investment firm.
Hawaii-based Koko'oha Investments Inc., formed this month by Dods and three other investors, will buy the petroleum distributor and marketer for $44 million from k1 Ventures Ltd. Mid Pac owns 36 of the 51 Union 76-branded gas stations in Hawaii. It is the second time control of the brand and the stations has changed hands in three years.
» Buyer: Koko'oha Investments Inc., which is made up of Walter Dods, Jim Yates, Bill Mills and David Hulihee
» Seller: k1 Ventures Ltd.
» The deal: 100 percent ownership of Mid Pac Petroleum, which includes the Union 76 brand for fuel sales in Hawaii, Union 76 retail stations, the company's trucking assets, marketing programs, and fueling terminals at Hilo and Kawaihae on the Big Island.
» Cost: $44 million in cash
» Mid Pac annual sales: $170 million in 2006
» Expected sale closing date: Sept. 1
"It's very rare in Hawaii that a top-50 type company becomes available," Dods said in an interview. "I loved the fact that we were able to bring the company back home."
There will be "no disruption" to the company's 100 employees, he said.
The cash purchase, expected to close Sept. 1, includes Union 76 stations on Oahu, Maui, Kauai and the Big Island, with fuel-supply contracts for Hawaii's independently operated Union 76 stations. The deal also includes Mid Pac's trucking assets, marketing programs, and fueling terminals at Hilo and Kawaihae on the Big Island.
The former longtime First Hawaiian chief executive, who will become chairman of the company, is being joined by David Hulihee, president of Hawaii-based construction company Royal Contracting Company Ltd.; Bill Mills, chairman of Hawaii-based real estate investment company the Mills Group; and Jim Yates, who will serve as president and CEO of Mid Pac.
Yates is stepping down at the end of this month as president and CEO of local natural-gas supplier the Gas Co., where he worked for 12 years.
"This company has been really well run in the last three years since it was started up, so to some extent it will be business as usual," Yates said in an interview. "As compared to a foreign owner, we are just going to be able to offer more to the local community. I'm excited about it."
The investors will have an equal share in the company, Dods said, with no immediate plans for other purchases.
"We take a long-term approach," he said. "We want to build the company. We would love to use the company to buy additional energy-related vehicles over time."
K1 Ventures formed Mid Pac in 2004 -- its second foray into the Hawaii energy market. It acquired the Gas Co., now owned by New York-based Macquarie Infrastructure Co., in 2002.
Mid Pac was ranked as the state's 52nd-largest company with annual sales of $170 million last year in Hawaii Business Magazine's August issue.
Dods, who retired as CEO of First Hawaiian Bank and parent BancWest Corp. in 2004 after 16 years at the helm, teamed with Hulihee and Mills as part of a group of a dozen investors for a $30 million stake in Hawaiian Telcom Communications Inc. A Washington, D.C.-based private-equity firm, the Carlyle Group, acquired Verizon Communications Inc.'s Hawaii assets for $1.6 billion in May 2005, changing the company name from Verizon Hawaii to Hawaiian Telcom.
The three investors and longtime friends also have a majority ownership of Hawaii-based construction material supplier and contractor Grace Pacific Corp., Dods said.